Canine Influenza Virus
The media has recently reported cases of the Canine Influenza Virus (CIV), in North Carolina, stemming from dogs that had attended shows in either Florida or Georgia. Testing has confirmed two deaths, one from the Morehead area, and the other from Central NC. Although there are two strains, H3N2 was confirmed in both deaths. There has also been a confirmed case in the Raleigh area.
The signs of CIV include a moist cough, runny nose, eye discharge, lethargy, and a reduced appetite. In more severe cases, dogs may develop a high fever and pneumonia (possibly due to a secondary bacterial infection). The dogs that passed away last week had very quickly developed pneumonia.
Dogs that are exposed to other dogs in boarding, daycare, dog park, and dog show environments are at greatest risk of infection. The Canine Influenza Virus is contagious to other dogs but there is no evidence that it can be transmitted to humans.
Treatment of dogs showing signs of Canine Influenza Virus is aimed at supportive care while the patient’s own immune system fights the virus. Such supportive care can include fluids to prevent or treat dehydration as well as antibiotics to treat a secondary bacterial infection if suspected. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication may be given, as well, if the patient has a fever. Infected dogs should be isolated from other dogs for 2 weeks.
For those pet owners who wish to vaccinate their dog(s), there is now a single vaccination available for both strains of CIV (H3N8 and H3N2). A booster vaccine is required 2-4 weeks after the first CIV vaccine to provide any benefit. With the safety and care of our patients in mind, we will now require the CIV vaccine for all boarding and day boarding patients.
We will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available to us. Please give our office a call if you wish to schedule an appointment for the vaccination, or have any additional questions.
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